Album review: Ninja Gun – “Roman Nose”

Anyone outside of the punk rock music loop tends to thins the same things about the genre- repetitive, loud, snotty and obnoxious teenagers singing songs about boredom and anarchy. While that stereotype may have existed for a reason, bands like Ninja Gun prove that you can still get your point across without screaming and bashing people’s heads in with the same three chords.

With their new EP, “Roman Nose,” Ninja Gun sound less like the stereotypical punk rock band and more like a mature group with something intelligent to say. Each track is like a new treat to unwrap; each tends to start off slow then build to greater and greater rock heights. It has a lot in common with both the 90’s alt-rock movement and the 70’s rock movement, with a bit of punk rock sensibility thrown in.

The album begins with the track “That’s Not What I Heard,” which starts off sounding more like a disconcerting lullaby than a track from a rock band. The tempo then picks up after the first verse, leading in to a track that defies punk rock conventions and sounds awesome for it.

“Hot Rain,” the second track on the EP, has a slightly alt-country feel to it, but when the song is in full swing, it sounds like it could have walked out of the 1995 alternative rock era without hesitation. In full swing, the song could have walked off of Silverchair’s “Neon Ballroom,” while the beginning of the track draws some parallels with bands like Everclear.

“Lepers In Love” stands as a glorious representation of the bands that influenced Ninja Gun. It starts off sounding like a song that could have been performed by The Beatles, and then leads in to a much more Weezer-esque chorus. While it sounds bizarre to be combining elements of both The Beatles and Weezer in the same album – in the same track, no less – Ninja Gun manage to pull it off without sounding like a tribute band to either.

“Roman Nose” stands out as the quietest track on the EP. It also is an appropriate album closer, as it gives an air of finality and peace before the close of the album.  It combines much of the instrumental characteristics of classic rock, with a quieter feel that conjures images of Thrice’s “Alchemy Index” era and Bright Eyes. You can also sense a little bit of “The Bends” era Radiohead hidden in the guitars, and likely dozens of other rock bands could have points in common with the track.

While Ninja Gun draw references to multiple bands with careers that span over four different decades, their sound is unique to the band. Face it: there are very few bands out there who could combine the musical elements of so many bands and still not only be listenable, but thoroughly enjoyable. Ninja Gun draw inspiration from many sources, but give their music a unique twist that sets them apart from every other band in the current music scene. One could only imagine how many more bands could be referenced had this been a full-length and not a four-song EP.

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